The Unity Scoop – February 27
Dear Families of Unity,
It felt great to be back in action this week following a restful February break.
The week was an eventful one for our community as we continued to honor Black history, including a full day of learning and celebration on Friday. In addition, our students took part in a weeklong career fair in which they were exposed to a wide array of professions. On behalf of our entire community, I wish to thank our staff, faculty, and community volunteers who led the way and/or contributed to the eventful week and all that it offered to our students as they consider their role in history and their career aspirations.
In this edition of The Unity Scoop, I spotlight the events of the past week. I also include an important survey that we kindly ask our families to complete. Finally, I provide a number of useful reminders as we enter the month of March. I look forward to the week ahead and the longer days and warmer temperatures that come with the early spring!
Have a lovely weekend.
Head of School / Co-founder
Updates as of February 27, 2021:
1. New – Unity Continues its Celebration of Black History: It has been a festive month and past week with our honoring of Black history. Our celebration continued on Friday with workshops, presentations, a keynote speaking engagement, and fun through trivia and other festivities. Enjoy the photos from the celebration below!
2. New – Unity Experiences its Fifth Annual Career Fair!: Unity students in grades 6-12 were exposed to a host of career options this week, including but not limited to: professions in the music industry, law, advertising, technology, business, social work, and farming! Appreciate the event by taking in the photos below.
3. New – We Want Your Feedback on Our Remote Learning Program as We Make Decisions on Future Programming! We are eager to learn about your satisfaction and comfort with our remote program as of now. We are also interested in gaining your input on how we close out the 2020-21 school year and whether we further expand our in-person programming to best serve our students and families. We kindly ask all families to take five minutes to complete this survey. Thanks in advance – your input is important to us!
4. New – Working Papers for HS Students During Remote Learning: We know many students will be applying for the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) or Ladders For Leaders in the coming weeks. As a result, students may wish to obtain their working papers. The process for obtaining working papers during remote learning is as follows:
1. Parent/guardian completes section I of this form: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/sss/
(Form can be typed directly into and saved.)
2. Email the form to Ms. Del Purgatorio: firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Ms. Del Purgatorio must also see the student’s birth certificate and a completed physical from the student’s doctor dated within one year OR a letter from the doctor stating the student is physically fit to work also dated within one year. These documents can be emailed to email@example.com OR a Zoom call can be scheduled where the documents can be presented.
4. After these steps are complete, the working papers will be mailed to your home.
If there are any questions about this process, please email Tina Del Purgatorio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Recap – College Information for Students and Families of Unity: See the updates below from our College & Career Readiness Team!
- Important Notes & Semester 2 Key Dates for 12th Grade Students – Please note the following KEY DATES for the remainder of the school year:
- Quarter 3: 2/1/2021 – 3/19/2021 (February 1st – March 19th)
- Quarter 4: 3/22/2021 – 5/28/2021 (March 22nd – May 28th)
If you do not complete your graduation requirements and pass all of your current classes in that time period, you will be programmed for a mandatory credit recovery period in June and/or mandatory summer school. If you have ANY questions about whether or not you are on track to complete your graduation requirements by May 28th, please reach out to Ms. Roth or Mr. Gonzalez ASAP.
- If you have:
- Not completed your college applications
- Not completed your FAFSA and TAP applications
- Have any questions about your graduation status
Please contact Ms. Roth and/or Mr. Gonzalez ASAP. These are time sensitive conversations and must happen immediately.
- Unity Students Earn College Credits! – We are so proud when Unity students demonstrate initiative and resilience – two values which are so important in college and throughout life. The following students exhibited these values by earning college credits through our partnership with CUNY City Tech last semester. Despite being in a pandemic, learning remotely, attending to responsibilities at home and their regular high school courses, all of these students completed actual college courses and earned impressive grades! Please join us in congratulating them!
- Daniella W.
- Jaemiah W.
- Jennifer S.
- Keon H.
- Malika S.
- Roshawanna S.
- Samija T.
- College Acceptances (already!!!) – Although it is incredibly early in the college admissions process for schools to accept students, several Unity students have already been accepted to college! So far, seniors have been accepted to: Ithaca College, LeMoyne College, Manhattanville College, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNY Purchase College, SUNY University at Buffalo (one of the best schools in the nation!!!), SUNY Buffalo State, SUNY Brockport, Temple University (alma mater of three amazing Unity staff members), Drexel University, CUNY John Jay College, CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College, and CUNY Lehman College. Please join us in congratulating them! Stay tuned for more great news in the coming weeks!
6. Recap – A Brief Update on School Programming for the 2020-21 School Year: I am writing today to provide a brief update on our school programming for the 2020-21 school year. Given what we now know and new information gathered over the past month, the continuation of our remote program is the best course of action for our school community. We will extend our remote programming through at least April 12, 2021. As I have said before, we are at our best as a small, tight-knit community when we are operating in person and we are eager to transition back to in-person programming when it is safe to do so. With this interest in mind, we will re-evaluate conditions in early March and provide an update on how we will conclude the school year during the week of March 8th.
7. Recap – Miscellaneous Updates for our High School Families:
- Check out the Unity Prep High School Parent Corner: there are some really cool additions to the parent site this month, including a presentation on supporting your teen’s mental health, a full list of enrichment opportunities, and SUNY virtual experience information. Please remember to check the family site regularly for updates.
- SAT Updates: Many families have been reaching out with questions about the SAT. College Board introduced some very significant changes this week:
- Subject Tests have been eliminated for all U.S. students, effective immediately. They will remain available for all international students through this summer. Beginning in Fall of 2021, they will be eliminated for international students as well.
- The SAT Essay will be phased out after the June 2021 administration. However, it will still be offered for statewide testing when there is a state level contract (e.g., Delaware).
- A digital version of the SAT is coming soon, likely sometime later this year. More details to follow in April. The College Board is looking at ways to “streamline and upgrade” the SAT.
- 11th Grade Academic Counseling:
- Please remind your student to check the 11th grade academic counseling Google Classroom regularly.
- *NEW* Open Office Hours have changed! New Hours: Tuesdays 12PM-12:30PM & Fridays 11:10AM-11:40AM (Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/8406380546) 11th grade students and families are welcome to pop in with quick academic questions and concerns.
- To schedule an individual student or family session with Ms. Eason use this link: https://calendly.com/leason/
8. Recap – Unity’s School Calendar for Families through the End of June 2021: In the spirit of providing you with the information you need to best support your child with school at home, here are our updated middle and high school calendars through June 2021.
- Middle School Calendar for Families through June 2021
- High School Calendar for Families through June 2021
9. Recap – Unity’s Panther Den is Open to Middle and High School Students who Demonstrate PRIDE!: The Panther Den is where students can redeem the Core Value (PRIDE) points that they’ve earned for prizes and gifts of their choice.
- Middle school students can submit their requests for the Panther Den prizes via the following link. Middle school students should reach out to their grade level dean with any questions.
- The High School Den is open to students on Wednesdays from 3:05-3:50pm and can be accessed using this link.
10. Recap – Mental Health Counseling and Social Work Services at Unity: If you would like to speak to a social worker about your child’s mental health or if you would like your child to receive support from a social worker in school, please reach out to Ms. Del Purgatorio via phone or text (347-688-9107) or email (email@example.com)
Unity social workers can also be of assistance in providing information regarding social services (for example: housing, immigration, access to community mental health services & referrals to mental health providers, food security / access to food, public assistance, crisis intervention, etc.).
If your child or family member is experiencing a mental health crisis, NYC Well is available 24 hours a day and can be accessed by phone (1-888-NYC-WELL) or text (text WELL to 65173) or by internet chat via their website: https://nycwell.cityofnewyork.
11. Recap – Requests for a Laptop and Support with Technology or Internet Access: Unity will provide a laptop to all students who need one. If you still need a Unity laptop OR do not have internet access at home, please complete the following form: https://bit.ly/Unitylaptops. After completing this form, somebody from the school will reach out to you. Our goal is for 100% of students to have access to the technology they need to fully engage in their studies.
Relevant Information from Past Editions of The Scoop:
Unity Caregiver Checklist: Now that we are a full week into the school year, you have likely checked a number of the items below off the list. Again, kudos to you – these are challenging times for families in balancing school from home along with all of the other commitments we are juggling in our lives. To help you in best supporting your child to get off to a strong start this school year, here is a list of important things that you should be doing:
- Secure a functioning laptop and reliable internet service (we can help here – #10 below)
- Arrange your child’s workspace (see #11 below for tips here)
- Obtain school supplies (see #12 below)
- Purchase Unity school attire – parents and families are encouraged to purchase the Unity uniform now, as uniforms will be required whenever we return to in-person instruction. During remote learning, students are encouraged, but not mandated, to wear a school uniform (see #13 below)
- Plan your child’s daily routine and schedule to accommodate their class schedule.
- Attend Unity’s Family Orientation Night on September 24th and/or watch the recording of the event (see #14 above for more information).
Creating the Perfect Workspace for your Child at Home: Virtual learning can be challenging, but with a welcoming, comfortable learning environment, students are more likely to engage fully in their studies without distraction. Here are three simple best practices to turn a corner of your home into a workspace:
- Find a spot that has lighting: whether it’s natural sunlight from a window or light from an overhead lamp, it’s important that your workspace has enough light so that your student won’t need to strain to see.
- Make sure the table and chair are comfortable: working while sitting in a chair at a table increases productivity and focus, but it’s just as crucial that students are comfortable, since they’ll likely be sitting for long periods of time.
- Ensure that the workspace is free of distractions, noise, and clutter: games, toys, phones, laptops – they’re all fun, but they can be distracting to students while they try to learn. Therefore, the workspace should be spacious, quiet, clean, and clear of distractions.
School Supply List for New Students: For remote learning, the supply list may appear different than previous years. Please refer to the two supply lists below:
- Middle School Students: All students are expected to have the following school supplies:
- 5 composition notebooks
- 10+ pencils
- 10+ pens
- Ruler with centimeters (science only)
- Blank white paper
- Colored pencils
- New York City Public Library Card
- High School Students: High school supplies are organized by course and can be found here. Students are expected to have the supplies listed for each of the courses they are taking. In addition, we thank all of the families that picked up their class resource bags. Members of our high school operations team have been contacting students and families who were unable to pick up their bags to coordinate alternative pick up times and will continue to do so this coming week.
Information on Uniforms: Students are not required to wear uniforms during virtual learning. However, uniforms and school attire may be purchased by visiting the following links below.
Recordings of Unity’s Annual Back to School Night: Recording of last night’s Back to School Night can be accessed with the links below. If you were unable to participate in last night’s festivities, we strongly encourage you to watch the recording to be fully abreast of all supporting your child’s education in the 2020-21 school year.
Free Breakfast & Lunch are available for Students – Any student has access to free meals a day at more than 400 Meal Hubs across the city. More details, including a search tool, is available by clicking here.
Helpful Guidance on Obtaining the Perfect Book for Your Child – With the Unity Library closed for the time being, our public libraries in Brooklyn offer a vast majority of their books and resources online. Additionally, many private companies are stepping up and offering their services for free. Check out this helpful guide to gain access to ebooks or audiobooks from the Brooklyn Public Library. In addition, see the list of resources below:
- Do you have dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, or other reading barriers? Access Bookshare’s free online ebooks.
- Are you an English Language Learner (ELL) and interested in practicing your English? Are you looking to learn a new language? Rosetta Stone is being offered free for three months to all students.
- Are you finding it difficult to spend all day looking at a computer screen? Download BeeLine reader for free, which uses color gradients to make reading just a little bit easier.
- Worried that by spending so much time alone your vocabulary is growing more and more limited by the day? Dictionary.com has free daily activities such as puzzles, quizzes, and a word of the day to keep your vocabulary skills sharp.
- Want to practice your reading and thinking skills? Scholastic has a remote learning program where you can play games and participate in activities.
- Try using Newsela, which is an online news-as-literacy platform that features high-interest articles on everything from current events to myths and legends and from literature to science. Follow this link to create an account.
- Audible is offering free audio books for students. Click here to access a huge selection of audiobooks.
Resources Regarding Unemployment Due to COVID-19 – NYC has developed a list of resources for those who may be unemployed due to COVID-19 or are seeking additional assistance. The website will be updated frequently and includes information on employment/unemployment, food assistance, financial assistance, rent arrears, health and medical assistance, and so forth.